Microsoft Skype deal passes FTC probe

Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype has been cleared of federal antitrust questions.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved the deal, saying it passes all regulatory concerns, on Friday, which puts the final seal on the humongous $8.5 billion purchase.

Since the buyout was announced, there has been skepticism and concern, not the least of which have been multiple high-profile outages of Skype’s service. Some question whether or not Microsoft will be able to merge the voice-over and instant messaging service with its existing technologies.

Surely Microsoft is planning to embed Skype in its Windows Live suite of products, as well as make it a fundamental part of Xbox Live.

With an $8.5 billion price tag, the Skype purchase is Microsoft’s most expensive acquisition ever. With more than 170 million Skype users and even more than that through all of Microsoft’s related services, this deal affects a swath of people greater than the entire population of the United States.

And so the stakes are high. Recently, though, Microsoft has fired a number of Skype’s executives, causing a great deal of concern over the health of this new corporate takeover. Reports suggest the layoffs were to reduce payout costs from Microsoft.

At least the FTC approval is a piece of good news in this mangled story, and from this point on hopefully Microsoft will be able to move forward and turn Skype into an even more universal software application than it already is.